March 13 2013 12:00 AM

‘Dark Nights’ rises

What happens when all the lights go out at the Williamston Theatre? The politicians come out, of course. Well, actually it’s just actors playing politicians, so that isn’t nearly as scary. Um, right? 

This weekend, Williamston Theatre is staging its first ever “Dark Nights in Billtown,” a series of staged readings from two full-length plays and five shorts that explores political and social issues.

“We wanted to do something about the political season, and we liked all of the plays we looked at but obviously we couldn’t do them all,” said artistic director Tony Caselli. “So we decided on a stage reading. It seemed like a great way to handle it.”

Caselli said that since the theater is doing plays it wouldn’t normally do, the group decided, similarly, to present the shows in a way they wouldn’t normally present them: he said the readings will be performed in rooms around the theater that audience members don’t usually get access to.

“One reading is in the green room, another is in the scene shop,” Caselli said. “We liked the idea of the actors and the audience sharing the same space.” 

Caselli wants this intimacy to help the audience connect deeper with the stories being told.

“Some plays are funny and some are dramatic, but they all deal with politics and how they affect people’s lives.” Caselli said.

The shows include David Mamet’s “November” on Friday, Don Zolidis’ “The Election” on Saturday, and the short play series on Sunday, which includes Langston Hughes’ “Let America be America.”

“Dark Nights in Billtown”
Nov. 2-4
Williamston Theatre
122 S. Putnam St., Williamston
8 p.m. Friday-Saturday
2 pm. Sunday
$5 suggested donation
(517) 655-7469